October 21, 2009
Volker and the White House: Not Too Big To Flail
Beyond the pure shame of it, the photo is almost too painful to look at.
It shows Team Obama with Paul Volker and his White House economic advisory board seemingly looking and feeling like fools — which is understandable given the way he and his team have been ostracized from and by the Administration and Obama’s Wall Street-green-fed-and-bred economic team. (And then, check out the anti-Volker, Larry Summers, tucked away in the background staring the extreme other direction. Is he’s sucking on something? It sort of looks like his head is about to cave in.)
The NYT article accompanying the photo explains the futility, detailing the alienation resulting from Volker’s push to essentially reenact Glass-Steagall and prevent commercial banks from continuing to run trading operations.
Credit Christine Roemer, by the way, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, as the only person in the back row not only not averting her eyes but actually paying Volker some attention (although he look does bear some similarity to a motorist slowing down to check out a highway wreck).
Poor man (and poor us). Pitching a truly progressive idea — in other words, “change we can believe in” — to put banks on steroids back in their box, instead he’s sitting there with his two pages of notes, holding his head with his fist clenched in anger or frustration, and looking like he’s been spat on.
(photo: Mannie Garcia/Bloomberg News)